Articles Posted in Fatal Trucking Accidents

Sometimes, in the aftermath of a Maryland truck accident, it’s not exactly clear what happened or who’s to blame. Accidents happen quickly—in the blink of an eye—and those involved (or even eyewitnesses) might not know afterward who hit who or how the two vehicles collided—only that they did. Sometimes, it can take a significant amount of investigation after a crash to determine the cause and the series of events. Accident reconstruction experts may investigate, but sometimes the cause of the accident will not be known until quite a bit after it’s occurred.

For example, take a recent three-vehicle truck accident that occurred in the first week of this year. According to a local news article covering the accident, the crash occurred on a Monday afternoon around 1 PM. A driver in a semitrailer truck came upon a car waiting to turn left but failed to slow down for some unknown reason. The truck driver swerved to miss the vehicle waiting to turn—since they could not stop in time—but while swerving they struck another vehicle traveling the opposite direction head-on, and also collided with the turning vehicle. This three-vehicle crash left one driver—the driver struck head-on—dead. It is unclear what injuries were suffered or the extent of the other damage, but the county police accident reconstruction team came to the scene to investigate, and the road was closed down for a while. The crash remains under investigation.

Because it takes a while to figure out exactly what happened in a Maryland truck accident, many people who are injured in one wait before contacting an attorney. But those injured who might want to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver should contact an attorney right away—even if they are not sure if they have a case, or whose fault the accident was, or even what happened. Working with an attorney right away keeps your options open and also ensures you do not miss the window of time within which you must file suit—the statute of limitations. In Maryland, you must file suit within three years. If you prolong getting an attorney, you may forget or procrastinate, and then miss the statute of limitations. That’s why all those involved in a truck accident are encouraged to speak to an attorney right away, to make sure they are aware of their legal rights and prepared to file suit if need be.

In order to successfully recover in a personal injury lawsuit after a Maryland truck accident, a plaintiff must prove that there was negligence on the part of the defendant. In everyday language, negligence just means failing to be careful. However, it is actually a fairly complicated legal term. In Maryland, personal injury lawsuits, proving negligence means proving four distinct elements: (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) causation; and (4) damages.

First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant (usually the truck driver) owed a duty of care to the victim. Truck drivers—in fact, all Maryland drivers—owe a duty of care to others on the road or around them, including pedestrians, drivers of other vehicles, and cyclists. The duty of care means they must act reasonably carefully as to not injure others. The next step is proving that the defendant breached this duty. Here, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant did not act with reasonable care. Perhaps they were texting while driving, or ran a red light, or driving while intoxicated. All of these things could be sufficient to prove that the defendant breached their duty. Third, the plaintiff must connect this breach of duty to the accident. In other words, did the defendant’s breach cause the accident? If the defendant ran a red light, they might have breached their duty, but if the crash was caused three minutes later because of a brake failure, then the breach was not likely the cause of the accident. Lastly, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered damages as a result of the accident. This can be proved by submitting medical bills, or bringing an expert witness who can testify to the damage the plaintiff suffered.

In some cases, proving negligence can be pretty straightforward, as the facts of what happened are obvious, but it may be more difficult in other cases. Take, for example, a recent truck accident that occurred not on the highway, as many do, but at a truck stop. According to a local news article, the crash happened early one Thursday morning this month at a truck stop and service center off the highway. Many details are not known at this time, but a tractor-trailer struck a pedestrian, killing them. The accident is still under investigation by the state’s highway patrol. Because so few facts are known, and the victim of the accident was tragically killed, this is a perfect example of a case where proving negligence may be more difficult.

Last month, a tragic Maryland truck accident left one dead and another injured in Derwood, Maryland. According to a local news report covering the incident, the crash occurred between a car and a box truck on Shady Grove Road early one morning. As a result of the crash, the box truck tumbled over the embankment, landing on its side and trapping the driver inside. The driver of the car was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, where he was later pronounced dead. Officials found it difficult, however, to immediately access the truck’s driver. Because of the slope of the embankment, rescue workers from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue were brought in and had to use a system of ropes with a medical basket attacked to get the driver of the truck free. He suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

In cases like this, those who were injured (or the deceased’s family) may be interested in pressing charges against the other party to recover financially for their injuries. But sometimes, it is very unclear who was negligent and caused the accident. And, in some cases, both parties might believe that the other was negligent. For example, if the family of the deceased driver decides to file suit against the box truck driver, they may bring in evidence and an expert witness who can reconstruct the accident and explain what likely happened in a way that points the finger at the truck driver as being the negligent one. However, the defendant truck driver may come back with a defense of contributory negligence. This means they may bring in other evidence—usually a different expert witness—trying to prove that the plaintiff was also negligent, and that their negligence contributed to the crash.

For example, suppose the plaintiff brings into evidence that the truck driver was texting while driving, and that he swerved and hit the plaintiff’s car. This points to him as being negligent. However, the truck driver may want to bring in other evidence that the car driver ran a red light right before the accident, which placed him in the lane even though he should have been stopped by the light. In this case, both sides argue that the other was negligent and played a role in causing the crash. Depending on the strength of the evidence and the jury, these cases could go several ways—with a verdict finding the defendant not liable, finding the defendant liable, or finding them both negligent. In the latter, the plaintiff’s damages may be reduced by the percentage “fault” he was thought to have been at.

Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, making accidents more likely. In the tragic event of a fatal Maryland truck crash, certain family members can file a wrongful death claim against parties at fault after a wrongful death in a Maryland truck accident. Maryland’s wrongful death statute is intended to compensate family members for the loss of their loved one. Eligible family members can recover compensation for a range of damages.

In Maryland, damages are generally made up of two categories of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages, or special damages, are damages with a fixed dollar value, including past and future medical bills, transportation costs, and lost income. Non-economic damages, or general damages, are damages that do not have a fixed value, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and mental anguish. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the victim for their pain and losses. Punitive damages are also available in some Maryland cases and are intended to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in such wrongful conduct. Generally, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the decedent’s death.

NTSB Issues Findings After Truck Driver Killed by Fallen Pipe in Tunnel

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently issued findings in a fatal 2018 truck accident. According to the report, a Raymour & Flanigan truck driver was driving a semi tractor-trailer. The driver was driving through a tunnel on a highway when it struck an electrical pipe that had fallen and was hanging by electrical wires. The pipe hit the windshield and struck the truck driver. The truck exited the tunnel and crossed into the median, striking the guardrail, which propelled the truck across the highway and onto the guardrail on the other side. The truck driver died in the crash.

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Last month, a Maryland chain-reaction crash on Interstate 95, in Cecil County, claimed one life and injured six others. The crash was really two crashes, one of which was caused by the other. According to a local news report covering the incident, the first crash occurred early in the morning on I-95 near Perryville. Maryland State Police reported that several vehicles were subsequently stopped because of the first crash when a tractor-trailer failed to slow down whilst approaching them and hit the stopped vehicles. The impact of this second crash caused a chain-reaction crash that killed a 56-year-old woman from Colora, and injured six other people. Several lanes of traffic had to be closed in the aftermath, and both crashes remain under investigation.

This tragic instance shows how quickly lives can be changed, or ended, by a Maryland truck accident. One truck driver’s mistake here—not slowing down for the stopped cars—cost someone their life and left six others with injuries that may take years to recover from. The crash is also an example of how just one small error can cause one crash, leading to another larger crash and several injuries. Maryland drivers are thus encouraged to practice safe driving techniques, obey all traffic laws, and stay vigilant for potential issues while on the road.

In a perfect world, all drivers would drive perfectly safe and there would never again be an accident like the one described above. However, we know that this is not the case, and Maryland truck accidents will tragically continue to occur. If a Maryland resident finds themselves involved in one of these accidents, they should remember that state law provides them an avenue to recover financially in the aftermath. A personal injury lawsuit can be filed in court against the negligent driver who caused the accident, in order to hold them accountable for their negligent actions. These suits can result in significant amounts of money being awarded to the injured victim of the crash to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. While these lawsuits cannot undo the damage that is done in the accident, they can play an important role in the recovery process.

Most motorists understand that there is always a small risk of being injured in a Maryland truck accident. Maryland’s roads are often traveled by trucks transporting goods within the state or across it, and, like any vehicle, these trucks occasionally get involved in accidents. However, it is important for Maryland residents to remember that it’s not just drivers and passengers who are at risk of Maryland truck accidents. Tragically, these accidents can also injure or kill pedestrians who are not even in a vehicle but happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For example, take the recent tragic death of a college freshman, who was struck by a semi-truck earlier this month. Not much is known about what caused the accident, except that it occurred around 2 PM one Friday afternoon. According to a local news source, when officials responded to the scene, they escorted the pedestrian to the hospital, where he tragically died. Unfortunately, this tragic accident reflects a harsh reality: truck accidents can occur in the blink of an eye and cause serious injuries or even death to unsuspecting pedestrians.

Pedestrians should always be on the lookout for trucks, and can take certain precautions to avoid accidents, such as avoiding walking near busy streets, looking both ways before crossing a road, and not walking on or near a road in the dark or other low-visibility conditions. However, sometimes there is nothing a pedestrian can do to avoid an accident. When truck drivers are negligent and careless, they may run a red light or swerve off the road, hitting even the most careful pedestrian. While this is a tragic reality, and nothing can undo the harm caused in these truck accidents, Maryland pedestrians should keep in mind that state law allows them an avenue to recovery — a personal injury lawsuit.

In the tragic event of the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death claim may allow family members to recover compensation based on their loved one’s wrongful death. Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act (the Act) allows a parent, spouse, or child (or others in some circumstances) to recover based on the deceased’s wrongful death. There are some limitations depending on the circumstances of the deceased’s death. Spouses, parents, and children are considered primary plaintiffs under the Act. In addition, if the deceased had no spouse, parent, or child who qualifies under the wrongful death act, any person who is related to the deceased by blood or by marriage who was substantially dependent upon the deceased may file a wrongful death claim. These plaintiffs are considered secondary plaintiff, meaning that they can only recover if no primary plaintiff exists.

A wrongful death claim is based on a wrongful act that would have allowed the deceased to recover if he were still alive. This type of claim is meant to compensate close family members who wrongfully lost their loved one. Successful claims allow claimants to recover compensation for damages relating to the claimant’s suffering, including mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of guidance and education, emotional pain and suffering, and loss of parental, marital, or filial care. A wrongful death claim normally must be filed within three years of the death of the deceased. In the case of an occupational disease, the claim must be filed within ten years of the deceased’s death or within three years of the date when the cause of death was discovered, whichever comes first.

Claimants also often have to defend the actions of the deceased leading up to their death. A defendant will often argue that the deceased was partially at fault for their death. If a defendant is successful in doing so, a claimant can be barred from recovering compensation if the deceased is found to have been partially at fault for their death.

A recent tragic truck accident illustrates the importance of Maryland truck drivers being aware of their surroundings along with the height and size of their vehicle. Not being so can lead to horrible and even fatal truck accidents. Trucks are, to state the obvious, larger than cars, and their size can make them very dangerous. For example, a truck driver not realizing their truck’s size may cause an accident when they merge onto the highway or when they pass under roadway signs or overpasses. This is exactly what happened last month in a truck accident that claimed one man’s life.

According to a local news report covering the incident, the driver of a dump truck was traveling west on an interstate with its bed raised when it struck an overhead sign at an exit. The impact caused the sign to fall, and it landed on a 2019 Ford F-150, driven by a 62-year-old man. Tragically, the 62-year-old man died as a result of the accident.

While it is unlikely that the dump truck driver intentionally hit the overhead sign trying to kill the driver in the Ford behind him, that does not mean the truck driver can’t be held responsible. While criminal charges have not been filed against the driver, this case may still lead to civil charges. Specifically, the deceased victim’s family may decide to bring a wrongful death suit against the dump truck driver, an avenue available to many Maryland residents who lost a loved one in a truck accident.

There is nothing more tragic than losing a loved one in a Maryland truck accident, especially when the accident was completely preventable. While many people are able to drive around the state each day without getting injured, every so often someone will make a careless mistake, leading to a tragic, and potentially fatal, accident. These accidents are a sobering reminder that one mistake or careless decision can literally change an entire life and cause immense pain and suffering.

Recently, a truck driver ran a red light one Saturday morning and hit a car. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the impact of the crash caused a tractor that was on the truck to fall off and onto the car. Tragically, a 10-year-old girl riding in the car with her mother was hit by the crane of the tractor and killed. Her mother was also injured, and was rushed to the hospital, but is expected to survive. The 60-year-old driver of the truck was not hurt.

This accident is a prime example of a collision that could lead to a Maryland wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought when someone is killed due to someone else’s negligence, typically by the victim’s family or estate. In this case, the girl’s mother, for example, may be able to sue the truck driver for negligence.

Anytime someone is injured in a Maryland truck accident, they have the option to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. These lawsuits can hold whoever caused the accident responsible for the resulting harm, and successful plaintiffs may receive monetary compensation to cover their pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and more. However, in some cases plaintiffs can bring their case against multiple defendants—a driver who caused the accident, and the driver’s employer.

Often, Maryland truck accidents involve truck drivers who are “on the job” and driving the truck for their employer—whether they are carrying mail, produce, or industrial materials. When one of these drivers makes a negligent mistake and causes an accident, the driver as well as their employer could be liable for any injuries caused by the accident. Maryland state law allows employers to be held liable for their employee’s actions when the employee was acting within the scope of their employment when they caused the accident. Importantly, to win in these lawsuits you do not need to prove that the employer was negligent—only their employee. The elements of negligence in a Maryland truck accident are the same as in all other Maryland personal injury accidents; the plaintiff must prove: (1) that the driver owed a duty of care to the plaintiff; (2) that they breached that duty; (3) that their breach was the proximate and actual cause of the damage; and (4) that the plaintiff suffered real damages as a result.

For example, take a recent tragic truck accident that killed a 61-year-old woman. According to a local news report covering the incident, the woman was riding her bicycle one afternoon when an Amazon truck, driven by a 44-year-old man, turned out of the parking lot and struck her. The bicyclist died at the scene, and the investigation of the incident is ongoing. While it’s unclear who was at fault and caused the accident, the victim’s family may be able to bring a case against both the driver and Amazon if the driver was at all careless or at fault. If the driver was driving the truck in furtherance of Amazon’s business—by delivering or picking up packages, for example—then they were acting within their scope of employment. As such, proving that the driver himself was negligent may very well be sufficient to hold Amazon liable as well.

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